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up sprint to the finish from the northeast to the heart land. president barack obama and mitt romney in critical battle ground states. less than 60 hours to go to election day. the drama is building and we're on the trail with live reports and new polls to share. good day, everyone. welcome to weekends with alex witt and welcome to live coverage from democracy plaza. we will be here in 30 rockefeller center in new york city until election day and all through the results night tuesday. we'll have more on that in just a moment. first let's get to what's happening right now. three days until the election. new today president obama looking to close the deal in the crucial battle ground state of ohio. this is from mentor, ohio where the president is just about to speak. we're watching that very closely. before heading to today's event, though, the president visited
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fema headquarters to get a response to the efforts of aftermath of hurricane sandy. he is sending -- >> we don't have any patience for bureaucracy. we don't have any patience for red tape. and we want to make sure that we are figuring out a way to get to yes as opposed to no when it comes to these problems. >> meanwhile, mitt romney also has his sights on several key swing states today, starting with new hampshire. >> you saw the differences between barack obama and me in those debates. i like those debates. i got to be honest. i mean, he says it has to be this way. i say it can't stay this way. he's offering excuses. i'm offering a plan. i can't wait to get started. >> mitt romney will also visit iowa and colorado today, running mate paul ryan already wrapped up an event today in ohio.
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he now heads to pennsylvania, virginia and florida. we have two new nbc wall street marist polls out for you. president obama holds a 6-point lead among likely voters in ohio. 51 to 45%. then in the sunshine state the president gets support of 49% from likely voters. mitt romney coming in with 47%. let's head to mentor, ohio where the president is holding a campaign stop. we're following very closely with nbc's chris janzen's help. chris a good day to you. let's get to what the president is saying in his final pitch to the ohio voters. why is he there in mentor, specifically? >> reporter: good afternoon, alex. there is one group, one reason why the president is here. he's white work class voters. it's a group where the president has been behind nationally, having a tough time getting to 40%. but it's closette here closest . five points separated him and mitt romney in working class
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voters. take a look at the statistics in mentor. i know this very well. i grew up in lake county. 95% white. $61,000 median income. that's about $10,000 above the national average. it's the story throughout a lot of parts of ohio. and the reason is, the auto industry. it's worth saying again and again that the auto industry accounts for one out of every eight jobs in ohio. and we're looking at 82 of 88 counties that have some sort of industry related to autos. so it's very critical for the president here to keep that margin with mitt romney very, very close. you saw that poll that said 6% here in ohio yesterday. at an event in columbus, i saw david axelrod, the president's chief strategist. he thinks that the 2 to 3% race. they think that the auto industry ads that have been so controversial for mitt romney has backfired, that auto workers here know their business, they
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know that that ad is not true, and they think that in these closing days of the campaign, alex, it's helped the president. you're going to bet you'll hear about the auto industry in mentor. >> chris, this is certainly one element of the ground game. the president getting face-to-face with his potential voters that will be pulling out the vote for him. but in terms of the sense of momentum there, do you get a feel for the ground game, in which direction it is going? do you agree that the president has that slight lead as according to our poll? >> it does feel when you go out and about and talk to people i i was at both campaign offices. don't talk to any of the campaign workers that ask them to say we're in trouble. both side believe in these closing days if they make enough phone calls, if they go door-to-door they can make a difference in this race. mitt romney's side, 21 times as
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many doors knocked on, three times as many phone calls. but the president's ground game is second to none in ohio. in these closing days we have seen people going out especially on barack obama's side from the unions the so neither side is going to give up in these closing days. they are really hitting this hard, alex. >> okay, chris. i know your eyes wilt be trained on that podium when the president takes to it. we will take all of you there as well. thank you, chris. joining me now, msnbc contributor and nbc political analyst. hello, guys. good to have you both. >> good to see you, alex. >> let's talk about this poll. i begin with you, richard. the president leads by six points in ohio right now. do you think mitt romney can close that gap with just three days left? >> well, he might be able to close it by a point or two but not enough. when you've got an incumbent on the last weekend cracking 50 points it's extremely hard. and frankly down heartening for the romney folks to try and overcome that. you really have to come to it
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with a different perspective in the sense that the polls are all wrong, they've got the makeup of the electorate wrong. and frankly i heard the same things from the kerry campaign in 2004. you know what, when you get one or two polls in your favor and you think you've overcome every adversity before now, then you try and discount reality. ed the reality is, poll after poll after poll in ohio has put the president ahead and not by one or two points, by a handful of points which is really about the margin of error >> yes. perry, here's another way to look at this in terms of early vote versus day of. the president is winning over the early voters there in the buckeye state by about 25 points or so. however, mitt romney is winning election day projected voters by ten points. so do you think the president's surge cowl be squashed by those would actually get to the polls on tuesday? >> i think there maybe so many people that vote early the president has too big of a lead for romney to overcome. you've had about five polls from major news organizations this week come out.
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the president leads all of them. so it's really hard to say there's some kind of error in the polls when the president is leading all those polls by 3, 2 to 5 points each one. it's really hard for romney to close that kind of gap on election day. >> let's head south with you, richard, to florida. the new florida polls there the numbers show a virtual tie with the president leading by just two points. who need florida the most at this point, richard? >> well, it's a must win for romney here. especially if he's down the way he is in ohio. he's got to have florida. he's really got to sweep all the other battle ground states if he's losing ohio. but it is striking that again, poll after poll after poll has put the president closer to holding onto florida than polls have suggested romney is closer to taking ohio. so florida is more likely to tip into obama' side, but there are big differences in these polls. some of the more local polls in florida have put romney ahead.
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i think it's still a nail biter in florida. could go either way. but it's for sure romney's need to win state. >> okay, pennsylvania now with you, perry. the romney camp appears to be making a play for that state, spending about $10 million in ad right now. mitt romney is adding a stop there tomorrow. paul ryan will be there today. there are a lot of theories on why his camp is doing this. what's your take, perry? >> my theory is they're struggling in ohio so much they have to try to make a play somewhere else. the president probably can't win the elections without winning pennsylvania. that said he's been leading in every poll in pennsylvania throughout this race. romney hasn't campaigned in pennsylvania up until now. last ditch effort a little desperate i think. but it shows you the challenge they're having in ohio where the president has maintained the lead throughout this race and no republican has ever won without winning ohio. that's why they're looking for other options, the romney campaign i need. >> can i talk about the unemployment numbers, jobs numbers out friday richard with
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you. they show it did tick up .10% but the employers added 170,000 jobs and that beat expectations. interpreting this as a positive jobs report does this sway any voters at this point with three days to go? >> i don't think the report does. but actually if you look at the last several months, the trend of economic confidence, consumer confidence, that explains why the president's approval numbers have picked up and why he's still edging out his challenger with unemployment so high. you know, if you look at what the economic statistics did, they revised up previous months just on friday as well as coming in with the latest report. so it does suggest this economy is gaining steam and that has lifted the president just a few points but that makes all the difference in this cycle. >> perry, your latest article is titled i want to be able to say this on tv, it's the obama care, stupid. why election 2012 is about health care, not the economy. but explain to me what you mean.
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>> what i mean is we've talked a lot about the economy. bill clinton has, president obama has, mitt romney has in reality the president has very limited control over how the economy works and whether jobs are created or not. this is something out of the president's control. mitt romney says he'll create 12 million jobs. but a lot of analysts say 12 million jobs are created whether it's mitt romney, president obama or alex witt as the president. not clear the president has that much power over the economy. on health care the president has a lot of power in terms of what he can do. mitt romney wants to repeal health care which will be a big change. president obama wants to implement the health care bill which really hasn't been enacted yet. that's the real core to these candidates that would make a difference in people's lives. >> do you know how many people you put through heart pal pytations? >> former senator republican
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judd gregg joins me next. will the congress work with the president if he is re-elected. now what's the latest on the devastation left by hurricane sandy. the president met with cabinet officials and governors to discuss disaster relief efforts. the president admits the recovery process is painful but said crews have made progress and have lots of work remaining today. the president will deploy severalization officials to storm-ravaged communities across four states. meanwhile, the death toll from sandy is rising. 109 people dieded in the u.s., most of those victims lived right here in new york city. power is slowly flick, back on in thousands of homes. right now more than 2.5 million customers are still without power. that is across six states. more power crews and relief crews are on their way to the northeast. but people in new york city, staten island, say this help is too little too late. >> this is not red cross. >> this is us.
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we're giving out the blankets. we're giving out the food. we're going door-to-door helping everybody. >> i am fewer kwous. i am angry. i can't believe it devastation like this is being unanswered, uncalled. we're all so unprotected. >> her son-in-law took us in took our neighbors in across the street and offered us -- he was the most generous, most hospitable. i am just so grateful that he did that. >> it's getting colder as we go, all right? each day is colder than the day before. >> and just minutes ago the state of new jersey began rationing gasoline sales. meanwhile, new york governor cuomo says 8 million gallons of gas have arrived since the new york harbor reopened. even more is on the way. also new today, the pentagon will set up free mobile fuelling stations in the new york area. that's going to help ease those miles long lines. outside the few open gas stations there. while many are frustrated, they admit their situation could have been worse. >> let's go to nbc's katie tour
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on the new york city west side fours by that gas station. so how are the lines looking today, katie? >> reporter: they are very long since very early this morning. they got a fuel delivery at 5:00 a.m. this morning. at 10:00 a.m. they ran out of fuel. five hours and they ran out. the line is getting even longer as we speak because people are waiting for a new shipment. they expect a truck to come in here at any moment and resupply them. as for those mobile fuel stations, senator schumer announced that today. they're hoping it's going to alleviate some of the lines. only going to get ten gallons per person at those mobile fuel stations. if you're in new york city and you're looking for gas, here's a tip about this station in particular. the 10th avenue side, the line is extraordinarily long. yesterday it went back all the way to 18th street and it's innii inching toward that now. the 11th avenue side is shorter. in new jersey they have much of the very same lines as well. miles stretching of cars. people waiting in line in some
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cases if they're not running in on fumes, alex, they're running in completely empty and having to have people help them push their cars up. so governor christie what he's doing over there, he's going to ration or he has started rationing fuel. starting at 12:00. just a few minutes ago. if you have an odd-numbered lie license plate you can only get gas on an odd-numbered day. even-numbered license plate you can only get gas on an even-numbered day. >> hear hear for mass transit if you're able to use that. katie, thank you so much for that live report. what's behind some widely divergent predictions for who's going to win the election? that will be next. and nbc news's tom brokaw and how this election compares to others. and how some elections turned on a dime the weekend before election. "weekends with alex witt" continues after this.
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welcome back to nbc's democracy plaza live in new york city with three days to go until election day. right to the president who's speaking at mentor high school in ohio. >> now, for the past several days all of us have been focused on one of the worst hurricanes in our lifetimes. and each day i've been getting on calls with mayors and governors, county officials, just trying make sure that people are getting help. and i tell them that the entire
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country is behind them. we mourn those who were lost. we will walk with the people whose lives have been upended by the storm. every step of the way in this long, hard road for recovery. and i hope everybody is out there dish hope everybody understands this will be a not just a couple of weeks but it's going to be months of recovery for a lot of these families. so those of you who can still help out through the red cross, please do so. and for the first responds who are here today, it's just a reminder of how important you are. because when you see our firefighters, our police officers, our e.m.s. folks out there every single day working, it's amazing. and so despite this tragedy, we've also been inspired by what we've seen over the last several days, over the last week. you see heroes running into
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buildings, wading in the water to help their fellow citizens. neighbors helping neighbors cope with tragedy. leaders of different political parties working together to fix what's broken. you know, it's a spirit that says no matter how bad a storm is, no matter how tough times are, we're all in this together. we rise or fall as one nation and as one people. and that spirit has guided this country along its improbable journey for more than two centuries. it's carried us through the trials and tribulations of the last four years. remember in 2008 we were in the middle of two wars in the worst economic crisis since the great depression. today our businesses have created nearly 5.5 million new jobs. the auto industry is back on
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top. home values are on the rise. we're less dependent on foreign oil than any time in the last 20 years. because of the service and the sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform, the war in iraq is over. the war in afghanistan is winding down. al qaeda is on the run and osama bin laden is dead. so we've made real progress these past four years. but ohio, we're here today because we all know we've got more work to do. i love you back. and we've got more work to do. as long as there's a single
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american who wants a job and still can't find work, as long as there are families who are working harder and harder but are still falling behind, as long as there's a child anywhere in this country who's languishing in poverty or barred from opportunity, we've got more work to do. our fight goes on. our fight goes on. because we know that -- we know this country can't thrive, can't succeed, without a growing, strong middle class. our fight goes on because america's always at its best when everybody gets a fair shot. and everybody's doing their fair share. and everybody's playing by the same rules. that's what we believe. that's why you elected me in 2008. and that's why i'm running for a second term as president of the united states.
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[ crowd chanting four more years ] >> now in four days, you have a choice to make although here in ohio there's early votes so you could make it right after you leave here. it's not just a choice between two candidates or two parties. it's a choice about two different visions for america. it's a choice between going back to the top down policies that crashed our economy or a future that's built on a strong and growing middle class. when you think about -- >> we're going to keep a very close eye on the president, to bring you any nuggets you need to know after that. i want to let all of you know we had teased the fact that former republican senator and governor
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from new hampshire judd gregg was going to speak with us. i would like to let you know he declined to stick around. he was plugged, in ready to go. he said he didn't want to listen to the president and wait through the duration to wait to speak with us. what just brings to mind for me is the possibility of spirit of bipartisanship on capitol hill when you have those kinds of sentiments being shared. with hours to go before tuesday's presidential election, a new film out this weekend is stirring controversy the plot to kill osama bin laden. is the timing of the release intentional? i'm talking with the director right here on "weekends with alex witt" on democracy plaza. victor! victor!
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i got your campbell's chunky soup. mom? who's mom? i'm the giants mascot. the giants don't have a mascot! ohhh! eat up! new jammin jerk chicken soup has tasty pieces of chicken with rice and beans. hmmm. for giant hunger! thanks mom! see ya! whoaa...oops! mom? i'm ok. grandma? hi sweetie! she operates the head. [ male announcer ] campbell's chunky soup. it fills you up right. we are taking you now to our list of number ones for today. a razor thin race for the white house. if president obama wins he will
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become the first president since fdr to win re-election with an unemployment rate of 7.4% or higher. in the flurry of early voting where are the most votes? florida where nearly 3.5 million people have cast their election lot. texas is second, california ranking third, trailing texas by just about 15,000 close votes. >> the fate of human dignity in our hands. blood's been spilt to afford us this moment. now, now, now! >> daniel day lewis from the upcoming movie "lincoln" portraying arguably the most popular and influential president ever. the latest cinematic blockbuster of steven spielberg. we take note steven spielberg and wife kate cap shaw have donated almost $1.3 million. bill maher and morgan freeman both giving about $1 million to that same obama superpac.
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as far as congressional contributions, california democrat howard berman has received almost $425,000 either directly or through a super pac. when we last saw berman he was taking part in the debate. that is a congressman on the left. things got a little bit nasty there by the way. polls are showing berman losing his battle to remain in congress. those are your number once. live from democracy plaza here on weekends with alex witt. and if you stumble, you get back up. up isn't easy, and we ought to know. we're in the business of up. everyday delta flies a quarter of million people while investing billions improving everything from booking to baggage claim. we're raising the bar on flying and tomorrow we will up it yet again.
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is a thrilling, dual-flavored ride to mouth fun-town. but it's not like everyone is going to break into a karaoke jam session. ♪ this will literally probably never happen. but i still have a runny nose. [ male announcer ] dayquil doesn't treat that. huh? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus rushes relief to all your worst cold symptoms, plus it relieves your runny nose. [ sighs ] thank you! [ male announcer ] you're welcome. that's the cold truth! welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." we are live at democracy plaza from new york city. president obama and mitt romney are in a whirlwind of campaign stops before election day. president obama is headed to wisconsin shortly after holding
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a rally in ohio this last hour. it may actually still be under way. the president will also be visiting iowa and virginia later today. mitt romney is en route to iowa right now after he held a campaign event in new hampshire earlier. he'll finish the campaign in colorado with a couple of rallies there. the justice department says it is planning to send nearly 800 staff and observers to monitor the polls in 23 states on election day. the department has been sending out monitors since the voting rights act of 1965. and early voting end today in florida. several polling locations in the state have experienced long lines, meaning a long wait for some voters. republican governor rick scott denied requests to extend early voting by one day. joining me now for today ease strategy talk, karen finney, msnbc political analyst and tony frato, former white house deputy press secretary under president george w. bush. hello to both of you. >> your setup there looks fantastic. democracy plaza looks great.
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>> i wish you were here to see it. they have been working so hard on this. i could go on an on. we have details to get to. people ice skating. it's just cool. but let's talk about a couple of different ideas here, karen, with you. two respected political analysts have widely divergent predictions for the election. nate silver gives the president an 84% chance of winning and says he'll get 305 electoral votes. flip side mitt romney will be winning with 315 electoral votes. does anyone know what's going to happen? >> no, of course not. this is why i love politics. and this is why i love the pollsters. they try to apply science and data that predict. we're talk about human beings. and human behavior is unpredictable. we can have a sense of what we think is going to happen. the numbers i've been looking at are some of the early vote numbers. for example if you look at some of of these battle ground states and the number of people who have already voted early, the
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percentages that mitt romney will have to get of the remaining vote, the math is pretty tough. >> in some of those battle ground states they're saying that election day seems to have the headwind behind mitt romney. >> it could. the point is we don't know. and as tony knows, early voters to some degree that's a different universe. we've talked about this before. that's a different universe of voters than necessarily the people that vote on election day so we don't know. >> go ahead, tony. >> you never know. the great benefit for early voters for any campaign if you've ever worked in a campaign, the great benefit of early voters you can forget about them. you don't have to concentrate your fire power on them anymore in the closing days of the campaign. but this is great, exciting for us. if the race was over already it would be boring. and we've been saying for a long time -- >> what would we do? >> it's going to be really close -- what would we do? it would come down to the ground game in the last week, last few days of the campaign. whichever campaign execute the best on their game plan will probably win. and but we'll see what people actually do.
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>> can i pick up on what you said? the probably win? will you put yourself in the nate silver camp or michael berone camp? >> i don't even want to -- i think romney has a very good chance of winning this thing if things break for him right in some key states. but how those states are going to break and which ones it's really hard for me to say. i do think that the races in some of the battle ground states are close enough that he can definitely pull it off. and he has enough resources to even go into some other states that people thought were not going to be in play. >> but let's just think about ohio for a moment as mitt romney himself said last night, he's got to win ohio. so he needs to win 54% of the remaining vote in ohio to win the state essentially. and he spent a ton of money over the last couple of weeks and has not really moved the needle in the polls against president obama. so i do think part of what's going on now, some of the money being spent is a little bit of a head fake to try to get the other side to spend some resource and time.
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>> tony, can i just ask you a quick thing. the money that was spent in ohio, that has a lot to do with those auto ads that have been widely criticized. do you think that was money that was poorly spent when hindsight is 20/20 here? >> i always say that campaigns that have too much money end up spending stupid money. so i'm glad to see they're spending some of it in smarter ways in some of the other states. that's always a problem with too much money. but look, forget about ohio is a great example. you know, look, at the end of the day there was a question coming out of the primaries because the primaries seemed to be so divisive that the gop wouldn't rally behind romney. they've consolidated really well behind romney. and they thought well, that was going to turn off independents. he's actually doing very well among independents. so there's a lot of conventional wisdom that has been knocked down in this campaign. and one of them now is that enthusiasm for obama in ohio
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will be so much that he can exceed or meet what he did in 2008. i think we're just going to have to wait and see. i don't know that that's likely. >> tony, i want you to take a look at a clip of mitt romney that our friend at rachel maddow dug up four years ago. >> inside the campaign. what do you get on the inside that we don't get on the outside? because you're doing your own polling? >> you see, for instance, the widest array of polls. look at mason dixon for instance that came out yesterday. you take that apart. it's pretty close to the internal polls. what it shows is that john mccain is leading in the states he's got to lead in like ohio and florida. we're going to pick up pennsylvania. we think we've got a real good shot in virginia, new hampshire, new mexico, nevada. that's the pathway to victory for john mccain. >> here's something interesting as we know now. the president won all those states that mitt romney mentioned, tony. do you think the prediction is going to be a bit better this time around? >> it's not for -- i hope romney isn't making those kind of
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predictions today. predictions shouldn't be his business. it should be racing as fast as he can across the finish line. but look, campaigns are tough. this one is still really tight. a lot of these races are still really tight. and there are things that none of us know about. polls don't know what turnout is going to be on election day. that's always been traditionally incredibly difficult to predict. and that makes big differences. so we'll see. >> i want to talk about something that we are surprisingly talking about, karen. paul ryan, joe biden both of them hanging out in pennsylvania campaigning. a state that save for sandy and things that have happened with that perhaps relative to it it was considered a blue state. do you think the obama campaign's worried? >> no, i don't. this is one of these examples of what i would call a head fake a little bit. i think the romney campaign is trying to spend a little time and money in there to see if they can shake anything loose. i don't think are going to be able to. i've talked with people in pennsylvania. the biggest problem that mitt romney has in pennsylvania particularly the western start
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of the state, those bain ads were devastating. that is a part of the state, those are blue-collar workers. when they hear about companies being shut down, jobs being shipped overseas, these corporate raiders, that really had a huge impact there. and that's the kind of thing you just -- you can't undo with a couple of days or so of big advertising. >> okay. quick, tony. >> just real quick. i'm from pennsylvania. there is no early voting in pennsylvania. it is an election day game. so if there is one place where you do have a chance in pennsylvania if you can get things right to break on turnout it's pennsylvania. so we'll see. >> okay. we will. karen, tony, you guys are both awesome. don't go too far either of you. we're going to need you the next few days. in this weekend's office politics my conversation with tom brokaw. we talk about the 180 he has seen polls take on this, the week before an election. i begin by asking tom if this race reminded him of any prior races that he's covered. >> the 1980 race between jimmy carter and ronald reagan was
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similar to this in a lot of ways. ronald reagan brought in an entirely new philosophy of governing than the country had become accustomed to. and raised a lot of the themes that governor romney is raising. there are two different cats, reagan and romney. and at the same time, jimmy carter and obama are not exactly alike except philosophically to a large degree that they are. so that election was reminiscent of this one. here's what's changed. it's inescapable now. it's on the air 24/7. on our cable, on their cable, on local access. it's especially on the screen behind me, the computer screen. you can't sign on in the morning to go to your favorite web site without getting some kind of political dialogue. so i think people feel like they are caught in a tsunami of information, not all of it advancing their understanding of how they can best make a decision on behalf of their family and behalf of their country. a lot of it seems to be kind of
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campaign noise. that's what's different. >> we have so many polls, tom. they seem to be coming from every which angle, every which organization. how much do you think polling affects the way people will vote? >> not much. i think it may reassure some people who have made their decisions. but in the polls that we're seeing now, you have to be a much more educated consumer. which ones hold up? i was just looking at some numbers today. a lot of this polling now is auto phone calls. well, you can't really find out what you need to know about the person that you're talking to about what motivates them. the nbc news marist poll is a good poll. it's held up over the years because it's in depth. i watched a lot of polls do 180s. howard dean was going to be the nominee of the democratic party going into the final weekend in iowa. howard dean was not heard from again. governor dean became an also ran very quickly. it seemed like he had a lot of the big mo. i remember eight years ago being
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with both john kerry and president bush on the final weekend. the polls indicated that kerry, the challenger, was closing fast and was in fact ahead of him. in the final weekend, osama bin laden issued a call to jihad against the united states. it flipped. people decided they want to stay with the national security team that they had in place. and john kerry lost that election. i've done a lot of things in the last year. i went to antarctica which was phenomenal. i must have seen by actual count at least 1 million penguins. i went kayaking. i took a dive into the arctic sea, antarctica sea. >> what did you see? >> it was not very long. i was in and out. it was electric shock treatment. i did a tough biking trip in mayorca. my wife and i have been married for 50 years. so we took our family and two other families who had similar celebrations to a wonderful resort in tuscany and had a
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great italian summer. i spent a lot of time at the olympics doing biggest says, one on world war ii what london went through at that time, and others on individuals. and i did kind of a tongue in cheek essay on why we love everything british more than they love everything american. i mean, we're crazy about their royalty and about their rock and roll and about their fashion. and i got tracy ullman to comment on it. that was worth the visit alone. i do like the flexibility. the reason i left is because i wanted to have more flexibility in my schedule. now, if you look at my calendar people say that doesn't look like a flexible calendar to me. but it's all good stuff. i'm enjoying it a lot. and i can move easily from one place to another. i'm going down right after the election to -- i'm on the board of the mayo clinic. it's a public trustees meeting. it's one of the most enlightening and inspiring occasions that i have four times a year when i meet with the physicians and hear the work that they're doing.
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and then i'm going immediately from there to do a big benefit in miami for the fund for spinal cord research, something i've been working on for a long, long time. by the end of the month i'm going back out to south dakota to do some fepheasant hunting. i'm doing documentaries in between. i'm a multitasker >> yes, he is. more of our conversation tomorrow at this time. tom worked in washington during watergate. he shares some lessons from that era. plus he talks about the wild night covering the 2000 bush-gore election and his fears of another potential split vote this time around. in today's then and now, a look back at election night 1980. here's tom brokaw as ronald reagan's state was called and a warning don't be confused by the colors on the map because the colors represented different parties than they do now. >> we're going to call another state for ronald reagan. not surprisingly, it's a big one. it's his home state, california. 45 electoral votes. ronald reagan picks up his home state of california. he has never lost a race there.
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and we fill in a big chunk of the map once again with blue. now solid blue practically all the way from the mississippi river westward leaving only oregon, washington and arkansas as you can see. >> beginning to look like a suburban swimming pool over there. >> even in the east. >> sherman oaks i'd say by the way. >> even in the east, reagan is ahead. go ahead and have a look at this. >> the electoral vote, ronald reagan pushing heart at 400 electoral votes. no one was saying that just a couple of days ago. >> flash forward to now. we are here in democracy plaza, home of decision 2012 coverage. on election night we are expecting thousands to gather behind me here. the iconic rockefeller skating rink will have a map of the u.s. there you see it in place. states will be iced over in red or blue as the race is called by the nbc news decision desk. red and blue banned ins representing electoral votes will ride up in front of the building as each campaign climbs toward 270. meantime our coverage from democracy plaza continues after this break. ♪
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it's just like a bomb hit. >> we were blessed that our house is still standing. and we know the destruction that this storm has caused. so we might as well just come down, help them out, give them a hand. >> that's what you love seeing there. neighbors helping neighbors in the new york city staten island area. volunteers are flocking to makeshift relief centers across that beleaguered borough. staten island is the epi center of new york city's devastation. the borough suffered the most loss accounting for nearly half the deaths in the city. victims say the damage others suffered is far worse. nbc's richard louis is live on staten island with more for us. i know you have one story after another. there we have neighbors helping neighbors right there. >> that's right, alex.
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we are in the community here on staten island. a borough that many have said is the forgotten borough. not today. we have people from all over the area, new jersey, new york city and all the boroughs, here in the new dorp community at the crossroads community church here putting together meals. they've been making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. probably about 20 every 20 minutes. they foil them at this location. they then give you a nice little bag of chips and cookies if you want that. they throw them in boxes right here. about 20 per box. they go out into the community and they give them to volunteers who are out either cleaning up houses or trying to rebuild. this had stew in it before. this came from an anonymous restaurant. good corn bread. if you want to bring in stuff, right over there as you can see we've got things like granola, cornflakes, toilet paper, cleaning supplies. over here, this is a medical triage unit to my left. this medical triage unit here, what they're going to do is try to help you out if you have
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questions about your prescriptions, about vaccinations. if you can't bring anything, alex, you can always sign up. they're sending out volunteers. use your muscle and your mind to help the community here. >> that's right. it's an honorable way to spend a saturday afternoon. richard louis, thank you so much. inside the numbers of the latest jobs report before the election. which candidate benefits? "weekends with alex witt" live from democracy plaza back after this. [ male announcer ] humana and walmart have teamed up to bring you a low-priced medicare prescription drug plan. ♪ with a low national plan premium... ♪ ...and copays as low as one dollar... ♪ ...saving on your medicare prescriptions is easy. ♪ so you're free to focus on the things that really matter. call humana at 1-800-808-4003. or go to for details.
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the election is dominating the headlines, especially in the swing states. the miami herald has the headline romney still ahead in florida. you see it there. the cleveland plain dealer has the headline "obama, romney return to ohio as campaign enters its final days." and the headline in milwaukee
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journal sentinel says it all "fever pitch." now to give you a live picture from colorado, that's where vice president joe biden is at a rally there three days before the election. we're going to dip into that once he takes to that podium. to stay with us with team coverage. we have live reports and analysis from across the country in nbc's democracy plaza right here in new york coming your way at the top of the hour. [ male announcer ] you like who you are...
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side effects include headache, flushing, upset stomach, and abnormal vision. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than four hours. stop taking viagra and call your doctor right away if you experience a sudden decrease or loss in vision or hearing. this is the age of taking action. viagra. talk to your doctor. see if america's most prescribed ed treatment is right for you. you're looking live at democracy plaza. we will be here at 30 rockefeller center in new york city from now until election day and through the results night on tuesday. good day to all of you and welcome to "weekends with alex witt." it is approaching 1:00 p.m. here in the east, 10:00 a.m. out west. here is what's happening with
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three days before the election. mitt romney and president obama are campaigning fiercely in key battle ground states in a sprint to the finish. governor romney kicked off the day in new hampshire. >> what i need you to do is to go across your street, to your neighbor, that has that other sign in the front yard. and in washington i'm going to go across the aisle to the guys who have been working for the other candidate. we're going to come together. this is a critical time for the nation. >> meanwhile, a short time ago president obama wrapped up a campaign stop in mentor, ohio. >> america's always at its best when everybody gets a fair shot. and everybody's doing their fair share. and everybody's playing by the same rules. that's what we believe. that's why you elected me in 2008. and that's why i'm running for a second term as president of the united states. >> president obama will also make stops in wisconsin, iowa and virginia today.
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vice president biden is in colorado. and nbc's chris janzing is in mentor, ohio where the president spoke just a short time ago. chris as we check in on the other side of his speech, what was the president's closing argument to the voters? >> they're going out. there's a lot of excitement, a lot of enthusiasm. there was one solid message from the president. and that is vote. if you've already voted and a lot of these folks have, grab your mother, grab your mother, grab your boyfriend and girlfriend and go vote. in fact they made the point several times there's an early polling place that's open for another hour in the neighboring town. but this was all an economic message from the president. this is a community that is doing better than much of the country. ohio as a whole has an unemployment rate about a percentage point below the national average. there are about $10,000 above the median income in this county. and this is a particular appeal to white working class voters. because in mentor, 95% of rest
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drents white. so no surprise the president brought up the auto bailout and criticism of an advertisement by mitt romney that has been widely discredited. let me play for you a little bit of what the president had to say. >> look. i understand that governor romney's had a tough time here in ohio because he was against saving the auto industry. you know, it's hard to run away from that position when you're on videotape saying let's let detroit go bankrupt. >> and people cheered again when the president said you don't have to scare voters to scare up some votes. he also got maybe the most sustained applause when he talked about women's rights and women's health. so this is a very excited crowd. i'll bet there was one, too, about 20 miles from here in cleveland where a surprise appearance was made by stevie wonder who showed up at an early polling place and said, i'll tell you what. you go in there and vote and i'll do a concert. i'm guessing he had more than a few takers. mitt romney will be here in ohio
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tomorrow. it just shows you what a key battle ground state this is, alex. >> election fever. it is infectious and exciting. all right. thank you very much. nbc's chris najzing. after campaigning in new hampshire, governor romney is going to hold an event a bit later this hour in iowa followed by a pair of rallies in colorado. paul ryan is making stops today in ohio, pennsylvania, virginia and florida. mitt romney is now in dubuque, iowa. he's preparing for that rally slated to begin about 25 minutes or so from now. nbc news producer garrett haake has been traveling with the romney campaign. garrett, good day to you on this busy travel day as you follow this campaign. what's the mood of the campaign with just three days to go? >> good afternoon, alex. well, look, the campaign has been very hopeful about their chances but a palpable sense of nostalgia traveling with governor romney, a number of his top advisers that he's known in boston for more than a decade.
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they're taking pictures on the stairs. the plane, a sense we're going to give this one last go here on the long strange trip we've been on. interesting hope and nostalgia from the romney camp today. >> it's interesting. nostalgia. is that coupled with a positive sense? a negative sense? sometimes you would rather be looking forward, i would presume, than looking back. >> well, i think it's still a positive thing. remember, this is a guy who's been running for president of the country for the last six years. with most of the same team. all of whom will be happy to get the campaign behind them one way or another. i can tell you on the plane today was ike leavitt, running the transition projects for governor romney. so they're certainly not discounting the possibility he's going to win this thing. >> and i understand as we're looking at a picture of mitt romney and his wife ann there by his side, she was traveling around through the plane and made a stop back there with the media. >> that's right.
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we haven't seen much of ann romney in the last few weeks. she's been campaigning largely on her own in a number of states. she met with the press today. she even -- they asked her how she was feeling, how she was thinking. she's really looking forward to categorizing her views on the race but talked about throwing a touchdown pass in this last stretch football game. around the third debate and reflecting on some of her own best memories of this process. >> garrett haake,you'll have a lot of reflecting to do but not for a few more days, my friend. joining me now, national joushl white house correspondent major garrett and politics staff writer sharon triplet. your latest article is entitled "obama-romney enter end game over early voting". is there any consensus that can be reached on some of these
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swing states? >> i don't think so, alex. my sense is this that the obama campaign is hitting its targets. it knows it doesn't have to be as extravagant in its turnout operations as 2008. it can win with less. the romney campaign knows it's well ahead of john mccain's virtually non-existent early vote strategy in 2008. so romney is beating the most recent metric it has. in ohio they believe they're doing just as well if not better as george w. bush did in 2004. that may be a more telling metric. but the obama campaign believes, and i wrote this in my piece, they may very well have two battle ground states, iowa and nevada, essentially won by the time the polls open on tuesday because of the early vote margins they have. similarly the romney campaign feels very good about what they're doing in florida. so there's plenty of data. i'm overwhelmed by the amount of data i've been sifting through. both side are really emphasizing this. i think the one great takeaway is, we're seeing a tidal shift in american tendencies toward
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early voting. it may be as high as 40%. it will certainly be in the 35% range. >> but relative to these early voting numbers the president is winning as best we can determine in ohio. he's got about 25 points there ahead in terms of early voting. >> right. >> but mitt romney seems to be winning the election day vote projections by ten points. those folks that are going to actually get there and pull the lever for governor romney. is that enough of a firewall for the president, though, this 25 advanced versus 10 day of? >> there's still lots of ways to sift that date tax alex. and one of the things that both campaigns are trying to do is car or separate, if you will, high pro pencesy voters from low propensity voters. both campaigns have a scale. romney campaign is 0 to 4. if you were al sharpton you would be 0, ann romney a 4. obama campaign has a 1 to 5. rush limbaugh would be 1, michelle obama would be 5. if you lay these over in ohio, what the republicans believe the
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obama campaign has done is banked a lot of their high propensity vote who were going to show up anyway. what they're trying to do is call the low propensity voters in ohio and turn out a hire percentage of their high propensity voters on election day. the obama campaign acknowledges some of the folks banking now are probably closer to the high propensity scale. they do believe there'll be enough of a firewall particularly in northern ohio to get that state across the finish line. >> shira, there's a new tampa bay times, bay news, "miami herald" poll mitt romney leading by 6 points. however our poll, the nbc marist poll shows the president leading by two. we're all scratching our heads here. what do you make of these polls and the difference between them? >> well, it's obvious that both campaigns still view it as a battle ground. we can see that by where they put their money. the obama campaign made a renewed effort, i guess you could call it a final push in florida by buying up more ad time there. it's still a highly competitive
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state. a lot of florida right now is very unpredictable, too. i'll bring up the hispanic vote, for example. this is a population that the president has really worked to turn out. it's a very unpredictable voting block. so we just don't know how that's going to go until election day. >> how about the senate, shira? it currently has 53 dems including two independents that caucus with the democrats, 47 republicans. how confident are the republicans that they could take the majority? how is that looking right now? >> it's not looking very good for republicans quite frankly, alex. we started off this cycle with a map that was very favorable to republicans. they had a lot of opportunities to pick up senate seats, seats that were typically red territory for them, that democrats held. but as the cycle went on we had a couple of surprises. retirements. candidate recruitment failures on the republican side. and some interesting primary results. and as a result, it looks like democrats could hold the current advantage in the senate, maybe lose a seat, but that's about it. >> what about your take, major? what are some of the senate races you're paying close
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attention to? >> i agree with shira entirely. i've talked to republicans who became bullish for romney on the larger idea of getting maybe 280, 285 electoral votes but don't have any bullish thoughts at all about the republicans retaking the senate. structural ticket splitting which we haven't seen for many election summer olympics in this country. romney test your votes in montana. heidi high votes in nevada. what we're going to see in virginia for example there'll be some romney tim kaine democrat votes. there will be romney claire mccass tell votes in missouri. one thing you'll see there will be structural ticket splitting that will be pretty measurable in a lot of these senate races. that's something we haven't even well that will ager i think well for democrats. >> always a pleasure to speak with both of you.
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thank you. stay with msnbc for all day coverage of the home stretch to election day. craig melvin continues our live coverage this afternoon at 2:00 eastern followed by a saturday edition of the cycle, news nation with cameron hall and now with alex wagner. nothing to turn your channel for there. well, federal and state officials are taking extreme measures to bring more fuel to the region. trucks are going to distribute free fuel. free that is across the region. and millions of gallons of fuel are now flowing into new york ports. even more is coming. we're going to have a lot more in a full report in just a moment. but more than 2.35 million customers are still without power across six states, mostly in new jersey. new york's power utility called sandy the worst natural disaster in its 180-year hisity. also new today, 80% of subway service is now restored. several lines are running again. more will come back on line today. now to the situation out on the roads, nbc's katie tour is live at a gas station on new york city's west side fours. she's been keeping an close eye on the lines all day today.
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there we go. get you all centered up. how do they look right now? are we any better since the last hour, katie? >> reporter: yeah, it's a little bit better. the gas station is getting sick of the media they wanted me to come two feet forward on the sidewalk which is public property. good news for this station that is getting a ton of publicity for this. this gas truck right here just arrived which means they can start pumping in just a moment. they have been stopped since 10:00 this morning. they started filling up at 5:00 a.m. and within five hours they went totally dry. that's what you're seeing across new york and across new jersey. in new york they've just instituted new rules. they've made mobile gas stations across the city where you can get ten gallons per person. they've also reopened the ports million gallo 8 million gallons delivered so far. in new jersey rationing with governor christie. he's saying odd numbers days only fill up with an odd number
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on your license plate. even number days fill up if you have an even number on your license plate. the cops said every single station where they are selling gas. the problem is not that there's a gas shortage. it really is a parish you. once they get power up they can start punching and you'll see these lines diminish significantly. alex? >> but i bet emotionally speaking a lot of people are happy to see that tanker pull up. thank you very much, katie tour. good to see you. in just a moment, back to the battle for the white house. a new jobless report. who benefits from it and how will it affect tuesday's vote? we're live from smack dab in the middle of democracy plaza. msnbc's election headquarters for coverage of tuesday's historic vote. you're watching "weekends with alex witt." [ scratching ]
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welcome back to democracy plaza here at rockefeller plaza, the headquarters of our coverage here at msnbc for the 2012 election. in just a few minutes we'll get a snapshot of early voting. but is it a preview of things to come on tuesday? we will certainly get to that. meantime the last report on unemployment before election day is out. on the campaign trail, president obama emphasized the positive news yesterday that companies hired more workers in october than at any time in the last eight months. joining me now is jared bernstein, msnbc contributor and former economic policy adviser to vice president biden and author of "it's your business" and msnbc's your business host
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j.j. ramberg. welcome to the both of you. jared, let's start with the october jobs reports there. the unemployment. it did tick up just .1% to 7.9. but the economy added 171,000 jobs. so when you go inside the numbers, what is it that we find? >> you find a generally positive jobs report, one that shows some real momentum in terms of the pace of job growth. the big number there, 171,000 new jobs added on the payrolls in october. and actually, what i like to do with these monthly numbers, because they can be quite noisy month-to-month, is average out a few months. and if you take the average of the past four months, we're adding about 170,000 per month. now, you compare that with the much slower pace of job growth in the second quarter, about 70,000 per month. and you get a sense of the uptick, of the momentum. that's important in an economic sense, it's also important in a political sense.
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now, in terms of the uptick in unemployment, that's actually a function of the fact that more people were in the labor market looking for work. that's actually a good sign. an improving job market appears to be pulling more people in and in fact many of those folks got jobs. the share of americans employed, the employment rate, not the unemployment rate but the employment side of that equation, actually ticked up a bit as well. so generally a report showing some positive momentum in the job market. >> and real unemployment, jared, 14.6% is the number we're hearing? does that appreciatably dim the picture? >> well, that's a number that has been considerably elevated. that includes about 8 million people who are the vernacular calls involuntary part-timers. meaning people who would rather have full-time work but can't find as many hours as they want. that remains a tough issue in the economy. but even that rate is down relative to where it was in prior months. so again, i think the key issue here is some positive momentum
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in the job market. >> okay. j.j., what about small businesses? that's your area of expertise here. have you seen positive momentum? >> there's definitely been more optimism recently than in the past. the issue is small businesses, though, is the economy in general. so we talk a lot about taxes, about lending, about health care. really the issue is for them, how do we get people through the door? how do we get customers? as the economy gets better we'll get more customers. our problems will be solved. >> you have this new book. do you think small businesses are just waiting on the election results and then they will hire regardless of who wins? i mean, what's holding them back? >> in part, yes. uncertainty is a big problem for small businesses. you can basically throw anything at an entrepreneur and they will handle it. throwing the unknown at them is very hard. so i do think the election will solve some of that. but again economy will solve all of it. >> jared, we have this recent "new york times," cbs poll in which it shows that 36% say the economy is getting better. is one of the democrats' biggest
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fierce that if governor romney wins he's inheriting an economy on the up swing and would be able to step in and start taking credit for it? >> well, probably one of the democrats' figurest feabiggest simply that romney wins. i have heard this argument. there's something to it. there are very much economic cycles embedded in our economy. and the next president is absolutely going to preside over an improved economy relative to the last four years. that said, i think the important thing there is to look at their different policies and how they might impact not just the economy but also the budget path. and there i think not just democrats but there are legitimate concerns about governor romney's $5 trillion tax cut that he's yet to specify anything like how he's going to pay for it. so economy aside you also have to worry about fiscal health, fiscal rectitude. that's a problem for republicans. >> hey, jj, real quickly, hurricane sandy. $50 billion in damages. what kind of impact is that
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going to have on the economy? >> it's huge. that's a big impact for small businesses. if you're a small business and living day-to-day, if you're closed for one day, that affects you, that affects your pocketbook, then you don't have more to spend somewhere else. it's a big problem. >> a real domino effect. >> can i point out on that, hurricane sandy is not in last month's jobs numbers. the surveys were taken before the hurricane. in future months we'll certainly see some impacts in these jobs numbers. >> absolutely right. as always to the both of you, many thanks. >> thank you. new jersey governor chris christie has been one of mitt romney's most full-throated supporters in this election. a new article from "politico" says there was a reason for it. political reports says governor christie was mitt romney's initial choice for his running mate but he and his advisers then changed their mind short before the announcement was made. thinking governor christie might have put him in an awkward position this week as he and president obama worked very closely together in the recovery effort following hurricane sandy. stay with us for more from
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democracy plaza. the show place of msnbc's wall-to-wall coverage of decision 2012 here on "weekends with alex witt." [ female announcer ] think you need to go to a department store counter to treat your toughest skin concerns? join the counter revolution and switch to olay pro-x to see results in 28 days. anti-aging results so you look up to 12 years younger. reduce the look of pores and fight red acne for clearer skin get cleansing results as effective as a $200 system no matter what your skincare issues you'll see results in 28 days guaranteed join the counter revolution with potent, professional, pro-x.
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so your money can do more. [ rodger ] at scottrade, seven dollar trades are just the start. our teams have the information you want when you need it. it's another reason more investors are saying... [ all ] i'm with scottrade. we are just hours away from tuesday's presidential election and a new film out this weekend is stirring controversy. it's about the mission that killed osama bin laden. take a look. >> we had a ghost detainee. a known kwaeds currier, lead us to the suspected location of the target. the hvt is in a walled compound. and d.c. wants us to put an immediate action plan in place.
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analysts have on several occasions recognized the man who appears taller than the rest. >> the hvt is osama bin laden. >> joining me now to talk about it is john stockwell, the director of the film "s.e.a.l. team six, the raid on osama bin laden." welcome. looks pretty darn exciting. >> thanks. >> first of all, john, i want to talk about the story that you first wanted to tell when you got this assignment or as you were considering taking it on. >> well, the script came to me from nick shardier who produced "the hard locker." he's french. he's decidedly not political. he just wanted to make a sort of behind the scenes look at not just the raid itself but all the events leading up to it. i honestly turned it down at first because it seemed at that point that it was impossible to get an accurate, factual story with as many conflicting accounts of what was going on. first we heard it was a 45-minute long fire fight, then
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we heard there were maybe only 21 shots fired. so it was really hard to get a handle on the facts of the raid. >> so as you did your research, were there things that you learned about the raid that night that you didn't know before? >> the most interesting things they learned were all the what ifs. and now of course, after the fact everyone is sort of saying, oh, it was an easy call. any thinking american would have made the same call. but leading up to it there were so many unknowns. what if the house or compound were rigged to explode. there was talk that the occupants had stinger missiles. what if bin laden took off through the underground tunnels they thought might have existed. would we have pursued him through the streets? what if the pakistanis launched their jets. you know, the biggest what if, what if americans had been killed and osama bin laden hadn't been there. >> in terms of the timing, john, of this film, it's coming out just two days before election day. there are those that would suggest that there is a political bent to it because of the timing because it does
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celebrate a victory by the obama administration in taking that risk and doing what they did. >> look. it celebrates a victory for a whole team of americans. and the local nationals in pakistan who assisted us. that's one part of the story that hasn't really been told. the assets that we had in pakistan beyond dr. fried irk who helped us track and take down osama bin laden. i didn't schedule the date. harvey weinstein didn't schedule the date. nat geo scheduled the date. part by fox broadcasting. i don't think they have any agenda in seeing the president get re-elected. >> what do you hope is a takeaway from this film? >> i think the film ace triumph of bipartisan cooperation, especially cooperation amongst the intelligence community and the dod and the military. the cia led this mission and the military executed it. for all the heat that our intelligence communities have taken, i think this is one situation where they operated pretty flawlessly. >> s.e.a.l. team six the raid on
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osama bin laden premiers tomorrow night on the national geographic channel at 8:00 p.m. eastern time. still ahead, the mad dash on the campaign trail. the crisscrossing through key swing states. and it's a feat last accomplished by franklin delano roosevelt. which of the candidates hopes to repeatet repeat it on tuesday night? we'll get to that next on "weekends with alex witt." try running four.ning a restaurant is hard, fortunately we've got ink. it gives us 5x the rewards on our internet, phone charges and cable, plus at office supply stores. rewards we put right back into our business. this is the only thing we've ever wanted to do and ink helps us do it. make your mark with ink from chase.
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to bring you a low-priced medicare prescription drug plan. ♪ with a low national plan premium... ♪ ...and copays as low as one dollar... ♪ ...saving on your medicare prescriptions is easy. ♪ so you're free to focus on the things that really matter. call humana at 1-800-808-4003. or go to for details. it seems that mitt romney's campaign is appearing right on schedule as he appears in dubuque, iowa. ann romney now waving to the crowd. mitt romney was right there at the podium moments ago. but let's take a listen to ann who is very likely introducing her husband. >> so many of your communities, and we have come to love this
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state and love this people. we also know why you're here today is because you love america. i'm standing next to a guy that i've been married to for a long time, 43 years. and i know him so well. in everything he's done, he's achieved excellence in our marriage, in raising our five boys, in business, as a governor, as turning around the olympics. and i can't wait to see him do the next turn around. because it's going to -- may i introduce to you the next president of the united states.
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>> well, three more days exactly right. three more days. it's true. [ crowd chanting three more days ] >> now, i know most of you here have decided who you're voting for in three more days. but you have some neighbors who haven't made up their minds yet. and so i want to make sure they give you all the arguments you need to make sure that you convince some of them to come over and vote for our team. paul ryan and i want to make sure this country gets back on the right track. we want to bring real change to america. so some folks are just putting aside the demands of daily life and focusing on this campaign. and they want to know what the future's going to hold depending upon who becomes the next president. who's going to affect their life and their family's life and who's going to affect the country in the way that will make the greatest difference. you can go back and remind them
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that words are cheap. you can say whatever you want to say in a campaign, but what you can achieve, results, those are earned. those can't be faked. and you see four years ago you could remind them that candidate obama made a number of promises. and anyone can look at those promises and say how well did they do on those. he said he was going to be a post-partisan president. he's been most partisan in dividing and attacking. he also said he'd cut the deficit in half. he doubled it. he was going to get unemployment down to 5.2% right now. we just learned on friday it's up to 7.9%. that means 9 million more americans don't have work than what he promised. he also said he was going to cut your health insurance premiums by $2,500 a year. anybody seen that happen to them lately? no. actually for the average american it's gone up by $3,000
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a year. and then of course he said he was going to save social security and medicare. came out with no plan to do either one of those things. in fact, he took $716 billion out of medicare to pay for his vaunted obama care. he said he was going to work across the aisle. he was going to work with republicans or democrats to get things done. interesting. you know, do you know how long it's been since he has spoken with either the senate -- the republican leader in the senate or the republican leader in the house? about either of the economy or the deficit or sequestration or jobs? it's been since july. i don't call that working across the aisle with people in the opposition party. he made a lot of promises. but those promises he couldn't keep. and the difference between us, he made promises he couldn't keep. i'm making promises i have kept and i will keep them for the american people.
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now, you can look at my record, actually. you can see that in fact i was able to bring change. he talks about it. i actually helped bring it. i mean, starting a new business. that's not an easy thing to do. that's real change. and then i helped take a company that was in trouble and turn it around. also help with the olympics when they got in trouble. helped turn them around. and i got elected in a state where there are a few democrats, massachusetts. my -- 87% democrat. >> mitt romney address as crowd of faithful supporters, all three of them getting jazzed up for three days from now when they'll be casting their blots. joining me now is michael becklosh. michael as we take a check on what's happening right now, at this point in all the campaigns, these last few day, the waning hours, is it all about just an enthusiasm buildup? is that what you traditionally see year after year?
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>> it is. but you know, there have only been about a half a dozen campaigns where the election was this close since world war ii. and we really didn't know who was going to win. and majority of those, there was sort of an event at the very last minute that helped public opinion to move in certain cases resolve the election. working backwards, the osama tape in 2004 brought voters at the last minute to george w bush. 2,000, dwi and old charge police record of george w. bush in maine was brought out probably cost him a lot of votes. going back, the iran hostages in 1980. even election morning we didn't know if those were going to be released. so the thing that's different is that it's hard to think of a last-minute event like that that's unresolved that's going to move the voters the next three days. >> what about, though, hurricane sandy? i mean, we were looking at the nbc news-"wall street journal"-marist poll in which
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everybody is giving the president strong, high marks for his handling of the situation. appearing very presidential in trying to put the country at ease and promising up a the help that each individual state needs. do you think if you take that perspective with that which mitt romney has put out there, which is that he this that recovery should be left more in the hands of the states, having gone so far as to say that he would consider doing away with fema, do you think that may be something that is that last-minute surprise? might it turn out to be that way on tuesday? >> possibly. but it happened, i think, probably too early before the election to have that kind of last-minute jolt. sure, barack obama was seen as president and in a bipartisan way. that is always helpful. and you know that story from "politico" you mentioned a moment ago, alex, that chris christie may have been miffed at mitt romney for not being chosen as vice president. that sometimes has an effect. a 1916 woodrow wilson was running for re-election against charles evan hughes. hughes lost the election because
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he lost california. the reason he did that was that the governor of california, hiram johnson, felt somehow snubbed by hughes. the result was that hughes lost. >> interesting. i really need to take a class from you. i would have never known that fact. but anyway, before we get any further i do want to ask you quickly about the jobs numbers, michael. fdr as i have mentioned, he's the only one to have won re-election with this sort of economic backdrop. higher than 7.4%. >> right. >> how might historians view a re-election victory based on these unemployment numbers? >> i think that historians will probably say that people weighed the two candidates and essentially said that one had a better prospect of improving things than the other. whoever wins. but the way that fdr did it in 1936 when it was 16% was to say, it's still much too high but we're getting better. ronald reagan in 1984 it was in the low 7s. he said the same thing. so if people listen to barack obama, if they find that persuasive he'll win the election. >> let's talk about the dreaded
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by most accounts split of the electoral vote versus the popular vote. in which this has happened four times in history where a president is elected based on the electoral votes but not the popular vote. how does this play out in the past? >> well, usually it undermines a little bit the new president. perhaps the best example of that recently, obviously, was 2000 when al gore got the popular vote, george w. bush got the electoral vote. but even in an election that was resolved in as poisonous an atmosphere as that one was by the supreme court, it's amazing how quickly that began to fade. people understand that under the constitution presidents are chosen by the electoral college. until that changes, that's going to be the case in three days. >> i've spoken to some folks, michael who say if president obama wins a second term he immediately joins the pantheon of great presidents. what is your take? >> no. there were a lot of very bad second term or two-term presidents. but one thing that will be historically unique is that the last time we had three two-term
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presidents in a row you have to go all the way back to thomas jefferson and his two successors. that's how rare it is. and also americans tend to think that if a president is elected to a second term or the other way around if he's defeated, it's a sign that he wasn't even able to meet at sort of a basic level of political competence and leadership. in fact there have been cases when presidents have been defeated for a second term because they made tough decision that is were the right thing to do. >> all right. nbc news presidential historian michael becklosh. always a pleasure. >> we'll know in three days. let's go to washington now. craig melvin has a preview of what's coming up next in about 15 or 16 minutes or so. hi. >> hey there, alex witt. we will dig into those closing arguments from the campaigns as they crisscross the country in these final hours of the race. also, an update next hour from fema on sandy recovery efforts in the northeast and how that major storm may have changed the game this week. i'm live from here in d.c. for the next hour so keep it right here. >> we are staying put.
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thank you very much, craig melvin. coming up next the big three, keystone capers. what's behind a new move in pennsylvania. you're watching "weekends with alex witt" live from democracy plaza. okay, that looks great. were you profitable last month? how much money is in your checking account? have the browns paid you for their addition yet? your finances are scattered all over the place. mm-hmm. what are your monthly expenses? you keep your receipts in plastic baggies? seriously? [ announcer ] get it done and get it off your mind... with quickbooks. organize your small business finances... all in one place. quickbooks pulls in information from other sources. even online banking and customer information. visit today for your free 30-day trial.
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welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." we're coming to you live from nbc's democracy plaza. it is our election headquarters and big-time show place for a series of election-oriented exhibits. they're all open to the public. do come down and join us here. it's time for the big three in today's topics, keystone stakes, reality check, and best week worst week. we're bringing in my big three
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panel, white house -- democratic strategist and republican strategist. hello, guys, good to have you all here. >> good afternoon. >> so we're going to talk first with you about keystone stakes, susan. i want you to listen to msnbc's rachel maddow who spoke about previous gop presidential nominees and pennsylvania. >> in 1992 the republican candidate was poppy bush. george h.w. bush. the day before the election that year he went and campaigned in pennsylvania. and then the next day he lost pennsylvania. the next election 1996, republican candidate was bob dole. right before the election, above dole went and campaigned in pennsylvania. and then bob dole lost pennsylvania. in 2004, the republican was president george w. bush. the day before the election, george w. bush went and campaigned in pennsylvania. and then next day george w. bush lost pennsylvania. last time around as well on the sunday before the election, there's republican john mccain campaigning in pennsylvania.
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and then john mccain loses pennsylvania. >> guess what? >> sometimes traditions are broken. >> you kind of wonder if maybe with this record you might go just not going to go there. >> if you look at the polls you have to look at trends. and right now ohio is going to be very tough for him. and if there is a chance, if there's a place for him to try and do it it is pennsylvania. >> so that's where you go. >> that's where you go. because if you're going from 11, 10, 9 points out to now all of a sudden like 6 and it's closing 5, 4, it's worth a shot. not to mention you already put $15 million of advertising in there. they have to take a chance. >> okay. hey morris, president obama's camp is also putting money into pennsylvania big time. is that a sign that they are worried? or is that just sort of a token move because you have money to spend? >> it's a little bit like playing poker. you want to get check, you have to get check mate. that doesn't mean you're going to go all in the republicans have gone all in by sending their candidate there. we're just matching them to make sure that we don't lose the state.
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but we're not going to go all in and fall for the bluff. that's what they're doing, alex. they're bluffing if they think they're going to win pennsylvania. >> i've heard others call it a head >> i heard others call it a head fake. what do you make of this, amy. is there time and money better spent elsewhere? >> obama campaign is basically calling it mind games is what they were saying yesterday. i think they are. they are confident about their chances in pennsylvania but that doesn't mean they are not worried about it. that's why you're seeing bill clinton stump there. he has four events there tomorrow. dr. biden stump there tonight. so they are a little bit concerned just not enough to bring in the big guns. >> topic two reality check. amy, both the obama and romney camps say they are winning and there are two respective analysts giving opposite predictions. does anybody know what's going to happen here?
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can you predict? >> i think we have an idea of what might happen. the polls are all over the place and that's why people like me are wondering oh, my gosh what will happen. will thereabout a recount. that want remains to be seen. >> what do you think, weigh in from your point of view, susan. do you think both campaigns who say they are winning believe that? >> yes, they do. right now if you're president obama's team you're more comfortable because you are looking much better in ohio. so that's a concern for team romney. that being said everyone knows this will be a really close election unless of course it's not which it could be. >> love that. morris, in 1980 ronald reagan versus jimmy carter looked neck and neck and then the race turn and broke for the challenger. from what you're hearing in democratic circles is it close enough to fear that in this election >> absolutely not. we need to keep our heads down. i'm a practitioner of this. i always run nervous and scared.
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all we need is 270. the democrats need not to spike the football they need to stay very focused, focused on turn out and keep their game face on even if they are feeling confident they don't need to walk into any polling booth and get on television and say that. we need to run hard. >> we have best and worst of the week coming up next. stay with us. hey sis, it's so great to see you. you, too! oh, cloudy glasses. you didn't have to come over! actually, honey, i think i did... oh? you did? whoa, ladies, easy. hi. cascade kitchen counselor. we can help avoid this with cascade complete pacs. over time, the other premium pac can leave cloudy, hard water deposits, but cascade complete pacs help leave glasses sparkling. shiny! too bad it doesn't work on windows. okay, i'm outta here. more dishwasher brands in north america recommend cascade.
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okay. back to the big three for best week worst week. my panel. amy, you're first. >> chris christie for best week when he can get my mom interested in politics he's doing the right thing. worst week, david axelrod because he mentioned loins. he bet on his mustache.
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that's awkward. >> i think reporters were like wait go back there again. what was that about? anyway. morris, your picks? >> for me, best week was leadership. a lot of leadership last week with christie, biden, christie and barack obama, fema, first responders. i think they all had a good week. worst week for me of that romney ad. i think if romney loses ohio it's because of that chrysler ad. you see some pent up anger about that. >> a lot of reaction. how about you susan. >> heroes of the week were the first responders because they are still out there. they are working on stuff even as their own homes are under water or on fire. doing an incredible job. for the worst week all those republicans who criticized chris christie for standing with the president of the united states, taking care of business, that's not what it's about and you are a loser if you do that. >> okay. >> there you go. >> we need make you and honorary
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democrat. keep it up. >> in a moment krcraig melvin joins us from washington. stay with us here at democracy plaza. but i still have a runny nose. [ male announcer ] dayquil doesn't treat that. huh? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus rushes relief to all your worst cold symptoms, plus it relieves your runny nose. [ sighs ] thank you! [ male announcer ] you're welcome. that's the cold truth!
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Weekends With Alex Witt
MSNBC November 3, 2012 9:00am-11:00am PDT

News News/Business. Live news coverage. New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Pennsylvania 28, Romney 25, Us 20, Florida 17, Obama 14, Ohio 12, New York City 12, Alex Witt 9, Sandy 9, Iowa 9, Msnbc 9, New York 8, George W. Bush 7, Christie 6, California 6, Virginia 6, America 6, Katie 5, John Mccain 5, Ronald Reagan 5
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on 11/3/2012